My journey into the world of classical composition has been a somewhat unconventional one. After studying classical piano performance under Daniel Herscovitch at the Sydney Conservatorium I have spent the last 12 years writing music and fiddling with synthesisers and electronic gadgets with my band The Jezabels. It is within this context that I approach my acoustic and orchestral writing.

Heather Shannon, Australian Chamber OrchestraHeather Shannon

Much of my work is developed from electronic ideas and adapted to an acoustic setting. As a classically trained pianist with synthesiser experience, I have often been forced to think outside the box in setting up electronic instruments for maximum expressivity. When using an electronic instrument, the lack of control over dynamic range can be restricting. However, a synthesiser’s programming capacity and its ability to incorporate microtones into its timbral setup allows for a broad scope of sound possibilities. By programming a melody into a synthesiser, one can blur the lines between melody and harmony, creating unusual register leaps and detuned tones. The breakdown of tonality inherent in many synthesisers leaves room for an element of unpredictability when developing musical ideas. For me, this is an...

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